Time-elapsed photo shows the successful Dec. 21 launch and landing of Falcon 9's first stage. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON —  SpaceX nailed the landing and Jeff Bezos was waiting.

Minutes after the first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 landed Dec. 21 near its Cape Canaveral launch pad, the Blue Origin and Amazon.com founder posted a needling tweet.

Congrats @SpaceX on landing Falcon’s suborbital booster stage. Welcome to the club!

— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) December 22, 2015

While the upgraded Falcon 9 ultimately delivered 11 Orbcomm satellites to low-Earth orbit during the mission, first-stage separation occurred at a decidedly suborbital 75-kilometer attitude. Blue Origin’s New Shepard, in contrast, reached a peak altitude of 100.2 kilometers during its Nov. 24 launch and landing.

Bezos’ poke appeared to be payback for Musk’s pointed reminder late last month that Blue Origin was not the first to vertically launch and land a reusable suborbital rocket.

@JeffBezos Not quite “rarest”. SpaceX Grasshopper rocket did 6 suborbital flights 3 years ago & is still around. pic.twitter.com/6j9ERKCNZl

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2015

This time, however, Musk did not immediately respond to Bezos’ barb. He was too busy enjoying his moment.

11 satellites deployed to target orbit and Falcon has landed back at Cape Canaveral. Headed to LZ-1. Welcome back, baby!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2015

There and back again pic.twitter.com/Ll7wg2hL1G

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2015

Falcon 9 standing on LZ-1 at Cape Canaveral pic.twitter.com/RZdfcH0exW

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2015

In Ashlee Vance’s 2015 book, “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the quest for a fantastic future,” the SpaceX founder discusses his relationship with Bezos and the rivalry between the two companies.

“Blue Origin does these surgical strikes on specialized talent offering like double their salaries,” Musk says in the book. “I think it’s unnecessary and a bit rude.”

How rude?

At one point, SpaceX set up an email filter to detect emails with “blue” and “origin.”

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.